Goofyfoot Gurl #1: Let There Be Lighten Up!

Goofyfoot Gurl #1: Let There Be Lighten Up! (2007)
by RealBuzz Studios
96 Pages - Full Color [ Slice of Life / Teen Fiction / Surfing ]

Writer - Allison Barrows
Artist - Drigz Abrot

Publisher summary: Suki and friends are all about catching a wave and chilin' at the beach, but everyone's got their own problems to deal with -- a lack of serious funds, a new young step-mom, M.I.A. parents, and even the possibility of an arranged marriage! New crushes and a mysterious stranger are waiting just behind the next wave.

Reviewer: UC Pseudonym | Contact | 9 March 2008

Donít let the series title (Goofyfoot Gurl) or the volume title (Let There Be Lighten Up!) or the premise (Radical Christian Surfer Dudes) put you off. Against all odds, Goofyfoot Gurl is a solid contender among the current generation of Christian graphic novels. Anyone who likes slice-of-life series should at least flip through the first volume.

Another thing that may turn away some readers is the art style, which is unusual and distinctively not manga. Personally, I found it irritating at the beginning but got used to it by the end of the volume, but there are others who loved it and some who felt the style was just an excuse for sloppiness. On a more minor note, there are commonly random uses of super-deformed characters that donít feel natural.

The writing is actually decent, introducing us to a group of friends without beating us over the head with their characterization. Most of the time they let things progress subtly and it works well, though there is an unfortunate panel with tears that are completely unnecessary in a scene that shows brokenness more clearly. Despite the number of characters, it is easy to keep track of them and their stories flow together clearly in the first volume, which has nice balance overall.

As mentioned, the characters are well-written, having distinct personalities without being collections of traits. Theyíre perhaps suspiciously multicultural, but also reflect a variety of worldviews. All of them have their faults and strengths, which is a welcome change from the black and white world of much Christian literature. Some of them have a shade too much attitude, though it is perhaps forgivable given the attitude of some in real life. My biggest complaint is how irritating I find Sukiís winking, but thatís a personal preference thing.

While I didnít find this volume immensely funny, that was mostly because it wasnít trying to be. When they do make attempts at humor, theyíre usually at least mildly amusing. Mid-volume has a Bollywood-reminiscent scene that will range from strange to hilarious depending upon your exposure to the field. But the funniest thing is probably unintentional; look closely and you will find a guy thatís, uh, disturbingly interested in a certain firefly.

Most readers have probably noted that nothing has been said about the Christian content of this volume. Thatís because there is fairly little. Suki serves as an obvious good role model, reflecting the kind of generic virtues that few dislike. Her religion is noted but not the focus.

Part of me feels as though the message of the volume is, ďHey look, Christians can be hip and coolĒ but that would sell the volume short. Really, how else could you tell a real life story including religious people? No one is on a pedestal and the volume doesnít try too hard. Thatís definitely a good start.

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